Advices on improving CSS, and finding a mentor?

Hi all, it’s gonna be a whining and bitching post so beware and hope you don’t mind…

I started the first course in mid Dec 2020. Responsive web design and JS certificate were relatively easy.

Things start to get challenging when I came across React, so I spent the last week watching a 10 hour React course on FCC YouTube channel, code along while watching, experiment with things to make sure I understand most of the content. But when I started working on the Front end project, it just made me frustrated. In terms of functionality, I think can build those things with what I learn in React but I lack the necessary CSS skill so things always look way off of how it’s supposed to be, which makes me feel lost and frustrated.

Not only React, realizing that there are so many things I don’t know and am not good at really makes me feel depressed. (npm, node.js, git, API, and many many more…)

I think JS is relatively easy to understand for me as I spent some time with Python before, the programming concept is similar to each other. But positioning and styling the content of a webpage with html and CSS feels very foreign to me. I know building things is the key to get used to it, but any advices on how to at least get good at it in the first place? Start building something out of fragmented knowledge of html and CSS doesn’t seem to work for me…

I’ve read this article from FCC earlier, mentioning he had a mentor when he was learning web dev. Wondering how to find somebody who’s willing to spend time mentoring me if I were to find one? Any advice please?

Thanks for hearing me whining :wink:

Hi @kennykenny.l !

There is another great article on FCC news that talks about mentorship and how to find them.

Simply put, you need to be active in the developer community.
Be active online with different programming communities.
Attend meetups when it is safe to do so.

You need to interact with other developers.
Through time you will foster relationships and find a mentor.

I got my first freelancing gig because I was active on the forum.
They reached out to me and we starting working together and I consider them one of my mentors.

At that point, I was only a few months in but I was out there and visible in the community.

You need to get out there and talk with people.

Even during a pandemic, you can still meet people.
There are plenty of programming communities to join, you can be active on open source projects, active on social media, etc.

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I think we should be more aware about one thing:
Have a look into the real world. How many trades do you know where people are proficient after 2 (!) months of learning?

In Germany, you get professional training for 3 (!) years.
Sure, some stuff is redundant, but even if 50% is redundant, this boils down to 18 months full-time training.

Don’t get caught by these shiny stories of “From janitor to google dev in 3 months”. This is just survivorship bias. For every 1 folk who made it in 3 months, there are 1.000 normal folks who need 12-24 months and 10.000 folks who quit.

I think the approach is good, but your expectations are falsy.

When you start learning a music instrument, you mostly start where to put your hands and feet, how to read the sheets, learn some simple accords and so on, then some whole lines and so on. Your knowledge is always fragmented.

But you don’t start memorizing every single note sheet first.

I think the best approach is to read people’s stuff, e.g. here on the forum, twitter, and whether you like their communication style, personality etc. and see who you can relate with.

Then send them a message and ask them.

Science tells us that overall relationship and trust are the most important drivers for learning success.


@jwilkins.oboe Many thanks for the article about mentor. I think that’s the non-coding aspect I need to improve on the most - stop being a lone wolf and try to reach out. In fact, I regard writing and seeking help on FCC forum as a big improvement for myself. I’ve previously closed all my social media account so that I can concentrate on my learning. But then my previous venture on Python and data science was a failure, partly because I didn’t know where and how to do when I was stuck. And Stackoverflow is a very newbie-hostile place to ask for help I reckon. So I am so glad I have found FCC and the support of you guys.

@miku86 Thanks for the perspective of looking things from another angle . I was aiming at job ready in 6 months since I thought my previous Python experience would help. (But it seems it doesn’t really help much except concepts in JS). Now in my 2.5 month I realized I have to go back to the basics and brush up my HTML and CSS skills instead of keep running forward. I’ve enrolled in a Udemy course, have been binge watching and coding along at the same time even I think some of those concept I’ve already mastered. übung macht den meister? Now I am not aiming at finishing as many things on FCC as possible, but to first build a static site for my (previous) passion of photography, then to build something more complex in React.

BTW, many thanks for hearing a newbie moaning and bitching :stuck_out_tongue:

I think practical knowledge always needs re-practicing, so going back is always also a part of going forward.

Ja! I think having personal projects is a great way of keeping the ball rolling.